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My own Catholic world is being roiled at the moment by Pope Francis’ latest effort to mark himself off as more “enlightened” than any of his predecessors, going all the way back to St. Peter. He’s trying to redeem the good name of the apostle who betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin, then ran off and hanged himself.
A recent edition of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, marked Holy Week 2021 by running a cover article questioning whether Judas was damned. It suggested instead that he was sincerely repentant, and in fact played a positive role in the drama of salvation. Tradition in Action reports:
The editor – probably obeying an order of Pope Francis – chose to post on its front page the reproduction of a picture, above and below first row, that presents a naked Jesus bending over and tenderly ministering to a dead Judas.
Monda explains that the author of this painting is a French Catholic who became impressed by Francis’ words praising the Traitor in his book When You Pray, Say Our Father. The artist imagines that after Jesus was crucified, He would have returned to life immediately, gone to the fig tree and taken down Judas’ body and ministered to it. Morsa also reports that Francis loved this painting so much that he has placed it on the wall behind his desk along with another representing Judas. …